March 2011 Archives

Two Reuters Journalists Missing In Syria

Two Reuters television journalists, who were supposed to return to Lebanon Saturday night, have been missing in Syria, the news agency said Sunday.
Producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji were expected to be in Lebanon at about 6:30 p.m. GMT (2:30 p.m. ET) Saturday, and were not there when the taxi had arranged to pick them up, CNN reported.
Baltaji sent a phone message to a colleague
The last known contact was at 5:33 p.m. GMT, when Baltaji sent a phone message to a colleague in Beirut which said: "We will leave now," CNN reported.
According to Reuters, the two journalists have been unreachable by telephone since Saturday night.
"Reuters is deeply concerned about our two Reuters television colleagues who went missing in Syria on Saturday,"Stephen Adler, Reuters Editor-In-Chief said to Reuters. "We have reached out to the relevant authorities in Syria and have asked for their help in securing our colleagues' safe return home."
Reuters reported that a Syrian official told them on Sunday that authorities were working on resolving the issue.
According to CNN, Basma has been with Reuters since February 2007, and Baltaji since April 2008.

McRunner Eats Only McDonalds for Marathon

Joe D'Amico, 36, trained for the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, a 26.2 mile race, by eating a diet that consisted only of McDonalds.
"I'm not out to prove anything or disprove anything," D'Amico said to ABC News. "It's really an experiment of one."
D'Amico, a marathon runner and suburban dad from Palatine, Ill., documented his McDonalds diet in his blog, "Confessions of a Drive-Thru Runner," reported ABC News.
D'Amico's blog incorporated everything he ate, which includes 91 hotcakes, 24 orders of oatmeal, 23 hamburgers, 24 chicken "Snack Wraps" and lots of McDonald's cookies, the Huffington Post reported.
NBC Chicago reported that he ran about 349 miles in a one-month period while his mornings were marked with orange juice, hot cakes and an Egg McMuffin.
"I felt the need to challenge myself and decided to combine two things I love: McDonald's and running," D'Amico said to the Daily Herald. "My wife said I was crazy, so that solidified it for me."
According to the Huffington Post, Palatine Patch reports that D'Amico ended up raising more than $26,000 for Ronald McDonald's charities.
The runner pledged to donate $1 per Facebook fan on his McRunner page through March 20 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and raise an addition $2,500 via his fundraising page, donations came rolling in when news of his story spread, the Huffington Post explained.

Colton Iverson Leaves Gopher Basketball

Junior forward-center, Colton Iverson, of the University of Minnesota, has been granted a release from his scholarship and will be transferring to another school.
Five players, including Iverson, have left the basketball team since February 2010, the Star Tribune reported.
"I just want to say that my experience at the U has been great but my family and I [have] decided that it is best for me to move on," Iverson said in an e-mail Friday to the Pioneer Press. "Minnesota is a proud program and I wish them the best of luck in the future."
The Pioneer Press reported that the team's spokesman, Matt Slieter, said he could not "confirm or deny" the reports. He also said that the Gophers coach, Tubby Smith, wasn't available for comment Friday.
Iverson can play next season for an NCAA Division II or III school, the Star Tribune explained, but if he transfers to a Division I program, he will not be allowed to play until 2012-13.
The Gophers are now expected to replace Iverson with Elliot Eliason, a redshirted freshman this season, and freshman Mo Walker, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, the Pioneer Press reported.

First Female VP Candidate Dies at 75

Geraldine Ferraro, who was chosen as Walter Mondale's running mate in the 1984 presidential race, died Saturday at the age of 75.
Ferraro died of blood cancer in Boston and was the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket, reported the Star Tribune.
Mondale, in a phone interview with the Star Tribune Saturday, said he last spoke to Ferraro two weeks ago by phone. They had the opportunity to say their final goodbyes, he said.
The Associated Press described Ferraro as "a barrier-breaking pioneer for women in politics."
"At the time it happened it was such a phenomenal breakthrough," Ruth Mandel, from the Center on the American Woman and Politics at Rutgers University, told the Associated Press. "She stepped on the path to higher office before anyone else, and her footprint is still on that path."
Mondale chose Ferraro to run with him against Republican incumbents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, the Star Tribune reported.
"She was a pioneer in our country for justice for women and a more open society. She broke a lot of molds and it's a better country for what she did," Mondale told The Associated Press.

Elizabeth Taylor Late For Her Own Funeral

On Friday, Elizabeth Taylor showed up to her own funeral late with the announcement that she had left instructions to be at least 15 minutes later than publicly scheduled.
According to USA Today, her late arrival was true to the sense of humor and flair that defined her life.
"Elizabeth Taylor knew exactly how she wanted her final starring role to play out," USA Today reported.
The 79-year-old was buried within 48 hours of her death due to Jewish custom, she had died from congestive heart failure at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, The Independent reported.
As The Independent explained, "Elizabeth Taylor loved nothing more than to infuriate directors with her late arrival on set. So it was in death too."
According to Shalom Life, her funeral was led by Rabbi Jerry Cutler and included several Jewish traditions.
On Friday night, Broadway dimmed all nights in remembrance of Taylor, Shalom Life reported.

California Man Dies Photographing Tsunami

A man died in northern California's Del Norte County after being swept out to sea from a beach while trying to photograph the incoming tsunami waves of Japan.
According to My Fox Phoenix, the man, 25, and two of his friends were swept into the open waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Two of the individuals were able to swim back to shore, but the body of the third man was found near the mouth of the Klamath River, according to CNN.
"The northern California coast is a very unforgiving maritime environment on a good day," Lt. Todd Vorenkamp, a Coast Guard spokesman, told CNN. "It happens more times than you think when a person gets washed away by a wave."
ABC News reports that the man was the only reported casualty of the 500 mph waves that reached as high as 9 feet across the Pacific.
"The shoreline here is a dangerous, treacherous place on a good day," Vorenkamp told CNN. "And with a tsunami warning, it's exponentially worse."

Tsunami and Magnitude 8.9 Earthquake Strike Japan

A magnitude 8.9 earthquake causing a 23-foot tsunami hit Japan on Friday morning, killing at least 300 people, destroying bridges and homes, and knocking out nuclear power plants.
As of 3 p.m. on Friday, Japan officials confirmed to The Associated Press that 200 to 300 bodies were found in a northeastern coastal city of Sendai. Another 178 people were confirmed dead with 584 missing and 947 injured.
ABC News reported that the quake is the largest earthquake in Japan's recorded history. The world has not seen an earthquake this strong since the 9.1 magnitude quake in the Indian Ocean in 2004, leaving 230,000 people dead from the combination of the quake and tsunami.
Waves heights on the U.S. mainland, from Alaska to California, ranged from under a foot to over 8 feet tall, CNN reported. Officials reported no damage or injuries in the places where the waves had reached outside Japan, including Guam and Hawaii.
"At first it didn't feel unusual, but then it went on and on," Jesse Johnson, a native of the state of Nevada who lives north of Tokyo told The Associated Press. "I've lived in Japan for 10 years, and I've never felt anything like this before. The aftershocks keep coming. It's gotten to the point where I don't know whether it's me shaking or an earthquake."

Gopher Sports Leave WCCO Radio

On Wednesday, after 68 years of broadcasting with WCCO radio, the University of Minnesota Athletics Department announced their move to a new radio home.
Kare 11 News reports that beginning this fall, football games will air on KFAN 1130 and KTLK 100.3, while basketball and hockey will air on KSTP 1500.
"We just really feel the all-sports talk format is a great fit for Gopher athletics," Garry Bowman, the Director of Athletic Communications for the University of Minnesota, told Kare 11 News. "We have to continue to expand our market."
When Learfield Sports, the university and sports-rights syndicator, began shopping Gophers' broadcasts recently, reaching a younger audience than WCCO's older demographic was an important factor, Minnesota Athletic Director Joel Maturi told the Star Tribune.
"We've always wanted the Gophers, but I wondered if we would ever be given a shot at them," Mike Crusham, general manager of Clear Channel's seven Twin Cities stations, told the Star Tribune. "This is a great day for [KFAN], and I think a great day for Gopher fans, too."
According to the Minnesota Daily, if KFAN 1130 picked up sports besides football, there would possibly be a conflict in scheduling, but since college football is often aired on Saturday with Vikings games on Sunday or Monday, the move was a good fit.

Lady Gaga Breaks Deal with Target

On Wednesday, a representative of Lady Gaga revealed that she ended her marketing partnership with Target a few weeks ago because of Target's support for anti-gay political candidates.
According to Minnesota Public Radio, Target contributed $150,000 to a Minnesota group that supports Republican candidate Tom Emmer, who is opposed to same-sex marriage. Target fought back by saying the donation was motivated by business interests.
Target and Lady Gaga had been negotiating a deal which would put an exclusive version of her upcoming CD "Born This Way" on sale in Target stores in May, the NY Daily News reported. Gaga, an outspoken activist for gay rights, reconsidered this negotiation after fans voiced their opinions.
"Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they've made in the past," Gaga told Billboard magazine. "Our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they've made supporting those [antigay] groups."
Minnesota Public Radio reported that Target was disappointed and surprised by the statements made by Lady Gaga's representatives.
"Target gets a pretty black mark on its record," Greg Kott, a music critic with the Chicago Tribune told Minnesota Public radio. "I think that she exposed this part of their thinking and the way they disperse their funds is certainly going to make people think twice about Target now."

Goldy Gopher Punched in the Face by Annoyed Fan

The University of Minnesota mascot, Goldy Gopher, was punched in the face Saturday night during a gymnastics meet at the Sports Pavillion.
According to Fox 9 News, Goldy sat down behind Douglas Dokken, 60, and started "messing with him." According to a witness, Goldy was tapping Dokken on the shoulder and messing up his hair.
"The kids went from laughing to screaming because they were right there," Mike Elder, Goldy's coach, told the Star Tribune. "He was shocked. Then the guy stands over him and punches him again."
The Minnesota Daily reports that Goldy instantly talked to his supervisor and the police officer that was already stationed at the gymnastics meet. There have been no reports that he was hurt, but the mask was damaged.
After the meet finished, Dokken was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct, Fox 9 News reported.
Dokken told the Minnesota Daily that he regrets punching the mascot and that he should have just walked out of the meet.

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